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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan

Hello Royal Readers,

This week on Royal Reviews is Poets, Playwrights, and Authors week. Our Royal Reviewers will be featuring books pertaining to Poets, Playwrights, and Authors as well as their work.

-The Queen of the Quill

Title: The Taste of Sorrow
Author: Jude Morgan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Headline, 2009
Rating: 4.5 Crowns

One of the best books I've read this year !

The story of the Brontes , subject of so many books, both fiction and non-fiction, has had new life breathed into it by the wonderful and compelling writing of Jude Morgan. Without being influenced by the varying myths about the family that have grown over the years he takes the facts and weaves a tale that is both realistic and magical.

It's astounding that from a childhood spent in a small country parsonage high on the Yorkshire moors came, not one, but three young women whose imagination and suppressed emotions produced literary works that are now considered genius. Brilliant Charlotte, the intensely shy and mystical Emily, and gentle Anne .......and their tragic and self-destructive brother, Branwell. This is their story and it's as intense and pssionate as any novel they wrote.

Beginning with the death of the childrens mother , Maria Bronte, and ending with the marriage of Charlotte, much of what lies between will be familiar to many readers. The terrible years at the Cowan school, the time spent in Belgium, the governessing positions have all been immortalised in the Bronte books.
What made it worthwhile reading about again was the beautiful quality of Jude Morgan's prose and his rich development of all the characters. I loved the way the three girls stepped out from under the mantle of 'the sisters' and each began to shine in her own individuality. I loved how the lesser characters, from Tabby in the kitchen to the stern Aunt Branwell were also given their full share of attention and emerged as real personalities.

Jude Morgan's wonderful use of adjectives, similes and metaphors adds so much to the richness of his prose........."But Anne was also observant, highly sensitive, sharply honest. Hence the expected things, the dreaded things, that she could not shrug off or keep at a decorous distance. They rubbed like a nutmeg grater at the quick of her self."

What a pity they changed the title for the US publication --Charlotte and Emily - not only is it dull and unoriginal but the omission of Anne is shameful.
The original title comes from the book - from the Reverend Bronte's memory of his father in Ireland who before going out into the hayfields would place a sucking-pebble in his mouth to stop his mouth going dry.
"That is the taste of sorrows: the hard necessary pebble in your mouth."
It's the perfect title for a story that has more than its share of tragedy and sorrow .

Fortunately no one can change what is inside the covers - masterly storytelling, superb historical fiction, a joy to read!

Visit Cat @ Tell Me A Story


Audra said...

How have I missed this one?! I'm all over it -- sounds just marvelous. That *is* a shame about the title change -- the original is far more compelling.

Violet said...

How strange that they changed the title for the US publication (especially to a bland title that leaves Emily out of the equation). I love the original title. Thanks for sharing your review! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for making us aware of this book. I'll be looking for it under either title.

Christina T said...

This sounds really good. I've read one other Jude Morgan novel and I enjoyed it. I love Charlotte Bronte and would definitely like to learn more about her life. It is too bad about the title change. I will have to give this book a try.

Laura's Reviews said...

Great review! This really sounds like a book I need to get my hands on. I do not like the title change for the US version!

Beverly said...

Hey there - just wanted to shoot you a comment - I have completed my ebook challenge, wondering if there is a linky or something. You can see my post here.
Thanks for hosting!

Susan said...

You made it sound so irresistible that I ordered it, even though I have a stack of books waiting to be read already.

Cat said...

Thanks everyone - sorry to be so long responding but I've been away all week. I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did.